Coronavirus Update as Italy Sees First Drop in Active Coronavirus Cases, Spain Cases Fall by Over 10,000 in a Day

The number of coronavirus patients in Italy who are either being treated in hospital or recovering at home—known as active cases—has decreased for the first time since the outbreak began. Spain recorded its second decline in active cases this month in just over a week.

Total active cases in Italy dropped to 108,237 on Monday, which was 20 cases less than on Sunday. The small drop was seen as "a positive development," by the head of Italy's civil protection agency, Angelo Borrelli.

"For the first time, we have seen a new positive development: the number of currently positive has declined," Borrelli, told reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday, 98,771 people in Spain were treated in hospital or recovering at home—10,093 less than on Sunday, when 108,864 active cases were reported.

The latest drop was the country's second decline in active cases this month. Just over a week ago, Spain saw its first decline since the outbreak began. The figure fell from 87,312 on April 11 to 87,231 on April 12.

Italy has started to see a slight flattening in its number of active cases in the past few days, with the number of active cases hovering between nearly 106,600 and 108,200 from around April 16 to 19.

The country's daily death toll as well as daily new cases have been mostly on a declining trend from April 14 to 19, according to the latest figures from Italy's health ministry.

Italy's daily death count dropped for two consecutive days from April 14, when it was at 602, to 525 on April 16. The number of new deaths slightly increased to 575 on April 17, before dropping again to around 450 on Tuesday.

The number of new casualties in Italy has also been falling from April 16, when it was at 3,786. The figure fell for nearly four successive days, reporting 2,256 new cases this Monday.

Spain has also shown signs of the outbreak slowing down in recent days. The country saw a dramatic drop in daily new cases on Monday, falling from 4,258 on Sunday to 1,536 on Monday. Its daily death toll also saw a significant decline from 565 on April 17 to around 400 on Monday, according to the latest figures from Spain's health ministry.

The recent declining trends in cases and deaths across Italy and Spain have seen both nations introduce a partial easing of restrictions last week. A selection of businesses were allowed to reopen but both countries remain in lockdown mode.

Italy and Spain have the second-highest and third-highest number of fatalities, respectively, after the U.S.

Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy, coronavirus, April
An empty Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy pictured on April 19, 2020. Getty Images

Earlier this week, the director of Spain's Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies of the Ministry of Health, Fernando Simon, acknowledged that the "real number of deaths [in Spain] is hard to know," given the death toll does not include suspected deaths from the virus among people who were never tested.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more than 2.5 million people, over 204,100 of whom are in Spain, while Italy has over 181,200 confirmed cases. More than 659,700 have recovered from infection, while over 171,800 have died, as of Tuesday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Countries with the most COVID-19 cases
Countries with the most COVID-19 cases. Statista

Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.